Easter

Easter with the King: The Story of Nabal, Abigail and David ~ Sunday School Lesson ~ 4-20-14

Since we’re focusing on Resurrection Sunday this week,
I thought we’d take a brief break from our Living Stones study
for an Easter-themed Bible study lesson.
Find the rest of this chronological study here.


Originally published April 20, 2014

sunday school

These are my notes from my ladies’ Sunday School class this morning. I’ll be posting the notes from my class here each week. Click here for last week’s lesson.

Through the Bible in 2014 ~ Week 15 ~ Apr. 13-19
1 Samuel 18-31, Psalm 11, 59,7,27,31,34,52,56,120,140-142,17,35,54,63,18
Easter with the King: The Story of Nabal, Abigail and David

 

Since the whole Bible points to Jesus, the whole Bible tells the story of the gospel. Even the Old Testament. Even the story of David, Abigail, and Nabal.

1 Samuel 25:2-42

flock of sheep in israelFilthy Rich (2)
3000 sheep/1000 goats was definitely rich (even today it wouldn’t be too shabby). While cattle are more valued in our culture for their meat, milk, and leather, sheep and goats were more valued in Israel for these, and also for sacrifices. Sheep and goats were Israel’s “pantry on the hoof.”

I Pity the Fool (3)
The name “Nabal” means “fool.” As we have seen throughout the OT, names weren’t just random labels. They told something about the person’s character or life, where he was from, who he was related to, etc. Sometimes names were changed to reflect life circumstances: Ben-oni (son of my sorrow) to Benjamin (son of the right hand- Genesis 35:18), Naomi (pleasant) to Mara (bitter- Ruth 1:20), Simon (God has heard) to Peter (rock- Matthew 16:18).

It seems odd, even by Israel’s standards, to name an infant “fool,” but we have no way of knowing whether this was the case or whether he acquired this name later in life after earning it by his behavior.

“Abigail” means “My father is joy.”

An Offer You Can’t Refuse? (4-13, Deuteronomy 22:1-4, 18:7, 21:11, 15:7-8, Leviticus 19:10, 23:22)
This incident hits our Western ears as odd or inappropriate, even presumptuous or akin to extortion, but Middle Eastern hospitality etiquette and neighborliness, not to mention God’s Law was, and still is, much different from ours in many cases.

Nabal did not ask David to guard his shepherds and flocks. Indeed, he probably didn’t even know David was doing so unless the shepherds told him when they brought the sheep in for shearing. (And since “one cannot speak to him” {17} maybe they didn’t.) David, however, when he met up with the shepherds, took it upon himself, out of his own good will, to look out for them. Maybe he had sympathy for them because he had also been a shepherd.

michael-corleoneDavid and his men likely put their lives on the line numerous times protecting Nabal’s livelihood. And he didn’t do it with an “I scratch your back; you scratch mine” attitude, thinking he would later demand pay from Nabal. He also didn’t take advantage of the shepherds (such as extorting sheep/goats in exchange for protection) while they were with him. David was obeying the spirit of all those “good neighbor laws” we read about (ex: Deuteronomy 22:1-4). The law is not just “don’t harm your neighbor,” but also, “do good to your neighbor.”

Remember, these shepherds were alone out in the wilderness with the flocks. There was no police force or army to protect them from raiding bands of Philistines. If the Philistines saw a thousand goats and 3000 sheep and wanted them, they just took them and captured or killed the shepherds. No legal redress, no sheep insurance. Nabal’s entire portfolio was at stake. You would think once he found out what David had done –for free and out of the goodness of his heart—Nabal would be extremely grateful. But was he? Nope.

David’s men arrived, explained themselves, and asked politely for whatever food Nabal could spare (kind of hard to make groceries when you’re on the run living in caves). They did not demand his best, and they did not demand he provide enough for their entire company of 600 men. They had even come on a feast day when Nabal was celebrating his wealth, should have been in a good mood, and should have had plenty of extra food on hand. And notice this telling little phrase, “they said all this to Nabal in the name of David, and then they waited.” (9) Now here’s one way Middle Eastern culture is similar to Southern culture. If someone was standing there telling you about all those nice things he had done for you, how long would it take before you gleefully interrupted him and offered him everything under the sun in thanks? Well, Middle Easterners aren’t as shy about interrupting as we are, and furthermore, they would take it as the highest insult if you didn’t take everything they offered.

Not Nabal, though. First, he pretended not to know who David was. Pretty ridiculous, since David’s conquests were well known throughout Israel (18:7, 21:11- even outside Israel), not to mention the fact that he was next in line for the throne. Next, he insulted David’s men by accusing them of lying about working for David. Of course, if he had been interested in finding out whether or not that was true, he could have brought his shepherds in and asked them if these were the guys who had protected them.

David’s men went back and reported what had happened. David’s immediate response was for everyone to “strap on his sword.” It seems like kind of an extreme response to us, but we have to keep a few things in mind. First, the Law. Nabal was breaking both the letter and the spirit of it. While there was no specific law covering a band of mighty men coming to you and asking for food on a feast day, there were laws about taking care of people who were hungry and poor, such as the gleaning laws (Leviticus 19:10, 23:22).

Deuteronomy 15:7-8 says: “If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be.”

When we read through Ruth, we saw Boaz doing a great job of fulfilling this law for Ruth and Naomi. Here, Nabal is showing the exact opposite of Boaz’s kindness and generosity.

Second, Nabal’s actions showed disregard and ingratitude for God’s provision and blessing. God blessed Nabal with wealth and protected that wealth (through David) without Nabal even knowing about it. Do we see any evidence that Nabal was humbled that God should do such a thing for him, or thankfulness to God for what He had provided? No. We see only selfishness, stinginess, and a blatant disregard for God as sovereign provider.

Finally, David’s response was likely an answer to Nabal’s accusations. “He wants to know who David is? He wants to know whether or not my men are lying? Well, let’s go show him the answer to his questions and see if he changes his tune.”

The Go-Between (14-31, John 12:14-15)
Abigail was quite a remarkable woman. This was not the first time Nabal had acted this way. He had a long standing history of being harsh and worthless (“son of Belial” is also applied to Satan in 2 Corinthians). And here, Abigail was going behind his back and defying him. This was no small thing for any wife in Israel. But for Abigail, it could have meant a beating or worse when Nabal found out. It’s possible she was even risking her life. And for what? To save him. Without his knowledge that she was saving him. Without his knowledge that he even needed saving.

Why in the world would Abigail want to save someone who was probably making her life a living hell? She could have just let David and his men handle Nabal. Certainly he would have www-St-Takla-org--abigail-entreats-mercygotten what he deserved. But she stepped in because it was the right thing to do. It was right to obey God by providing for David and his men. It was even right to protect her husband from his own foolishness and bringing David’s wrath down upon himself. But even more, she did it because she loved God, and maybe even her husband, too.

She sent the gift on ahead (19) to appease David’s wrath, then presented herself to him on Nabal’s behalf. Notice that she got down off her donkey (23). Kings rode donkeys. Rich people and people of high standing rode donkeys. She left her wealth and position behind and got as low as she could get, bowing down, humbling herself, and submitting herself to David. For Nabal.

Then Abigail did something even more remarkable. She said (24-25), “On me alone, my lord, be the guilt. Please let your servant speak in your ears, and hear the words of your servant. Let not my lord regard this worthless fellow, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he.” She—a completely innocent party to Nabal’s sin (25)—voluntarily takes on the guilt and consequences of his sin. (Is this starting to sound familiar?) In v. 28, she asked David to “Please forgive the trespass of your servant.” It wasn’t her trespass, but Nabal’s. She was asking forgiveness for him.

The King’s Response (32-35)
David blessed Abigail, not just for her prudence and godliness, but also because she had satisfied his wrath and kept him from exercising it on Nabal. Her gift was sufficient, and David granted her petition to extend forgiveness to Nabal.

Happily Ever After (36-42)
Well, except for Nabal. Abigail had to tell Nabal what she had done. She’d been gone for a while and had taken quite a bit of food out of the house. No sense trying to cover it up. Hopefully Nabal would be grateful she saved him from certain death. When she told him, did he repent? Humble himself? The text doesn’t say that he did. It says “his heart died within him.” It’s generally believed this means that Nabal had a stroke (especially since it further says that he “became as stone” and lived for ten more days). Did he become enraged at what Abigail had done, and this physical exertion contributed to a stroke? We can’t know for certain. What seems unlikely is that he genuinely repented, because God “struck Nabal and he died.” As we’ll see later with David, while we usually do suffer the consequences of our sin, God shows mercy and forgiveness to the repentant.

David was thankful he had not taken matters into his own hands and that God had handled the situation. Justice had been served. And for her faithfulness, Abigail—who considered herself the lowliest of servants, only fit to wash the feet of other servants—ascended to the position of Queen. Back on her donkey where she belonged, exalted out of humility to sit at the right hand of the king.

The Backstage Gospel (Psalm 14:1, Philippians 2:6-8, 9-11)
Often, in stories like this, the characters aren’t just playing themselves, they’re playing out the parts of the gospel.

As with Nabal, God blessed His people richly with life, family, provisions, and all kinds of other blessings she wasn’t even aware of. The people didn’t ask God to do these things. God, the Good Shepherd, did these things for them out of the goodness of His own heart, the same way David had done for Nabal. But, as with Nabal the fool, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good.” (Ps. 14) The same way David presented himself to Nabal and told him what he had done for him, God, over and over, reminded Israel of the way He had protected and provided for them. But just as Nabal rejected David, so, Israel rejected God, and rebelled against Him in favor of their own sin and selfishness. And, like David, God’s wrath was inflamed.

Enter Jesus. Just as Abigail intervened on behalf of Nabal, Jesus intervened on behalf of Israel and all mankind. Just like Abigail, He laid down His life to save us. Before we ever knew Him. Before we ever knew we needed saving. Why? Why would He even want to save us Nabals? He could have let God exercise His wrath on us. We certainly deserve it. But in the same way that Abigail acted in love and in doing what was right, Jesus loved His Father and us enough to fulfill righteousness and to bring God glory by staying His hand of wrath.

In the same way that Abigail got down off her donkey, leaving behind all prestige and humbling herself to the lowest position possible—a servant only worthy of washing other hp-crossshadowservants’ feet— Jesus “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant [one who washed other servants’ feet], being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Phil. 2:6-8) And for whom? Us Nabals. “On me alone, my Lord, be the guilt,” Jesus said, even though, like Abigail, He was completely innocent. He voluntarily took on the guilt and consequences of our sin when He died in our place on the cross, and He did it to win forgiveness for us.

Jesus sent this offering of His life for the atonement of our sin on ahead of Himself to the Father, and God’s wrath was satisfied. Jesus’ offering was sufficient, and God granted His petition to extend forgiveness to the likes of us. And just as David picked Abigail up from her humility and she ascended to the position of queen, Jesus ascended to sit at the right hand of the King, and “God has highly exalted him [Jesus] and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:9-11)

This story didn’t have a happy ending for Nabal, because Nabal didn’t repent and submit himself to God. Nabal ended up taking the guilt and consequences for his sin himself (death) instead of gratefully humbling himself and being thankful for the gift of Abigail’s intervention and David’s forgiveness. But the rest of us Nabals can have a happy ending. Jesus has paid the price for our sin with His death, burial, and the resurrection we celebrate today. He completely satisfied the wrath of God on our behalf. It is finished. Forgiveness has been purchased with His blood. If we will humble ourselves, repent of our sin, and accept the beautiful gift of forgiveness God is extending to us at the request of His Son, we can be reconciled to God now and live happily in the ever after.

Wednesday's Word

Wednesday’s Word ~ 1 Chronicles 21

1 chron 21 241 Chronicles 21

Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, “Go, number Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, and bring me a report, that I may know their number.” But Joab said, “May the Lord add to his people a hundred times as many as they are! Are they not, my lord the king, all of them my lord’s servants? Why then should my lord require this? Why should it be a cause of guilt for Israel?” But the king’s word prevailed against Joab. So Joab departed and went throughout all Israel and came back to Jerusalem. And Joab gave the sum of the numbering of the people to David. In all Israel there were 1,100,000 men who drew the sword, and in Judah 470,000 who drew the sword.But he did not include Levi and Benjamin in the numbering, for the king’s command was abhorrent to Joab.

But God was displeased with this thing, and he struck Israel. And David said to God, “I have sinned greatly in that I have done this thing. But now, please take away the iniquity of your servant, for I have acted very foolishly.” And the Lord spoke to Gad, David’s seer, saying, 10 “Go and say to David, ‘Thus says the Lord, Three things I offer you; choose one of them, that I may do it to you.’” 11 So Gad came to David and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Choose what you will: 12 either three years of famine, or three months of devastation by your foes while the sword of your enemies overtakes you, or else three days of the sword of the Lord, pestilence on the land, with the angel of the Lord destroying throughout all the territory of Israel.’ Now decide what answer I shall return to him who sent me.” 13 Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Let me fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is very great, but do not let me fall into the hand of man.”

14 So the Lord sent a pestilence on Israel, and 70,000 men of Israel fell. 15 And God sent the angel to Jerusalem to destroy it, but as he was about to destroy it, the Lord saw, and he relented from the calamity. And he said to the angel who was working destruction, “It is enough; now stay your hand.” And the angel of the Lord was standing by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 16 And David lifted his eyes and saw the angel of the Lord standing between earth and heaven, and in his hand a drawn sword stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces. 17 And David said to God, “Was it not I who gave command to number the people? It is I who have sinned and done great evil. But these sheep, what have they done? Please let your hand, O Lord my God, be against me and against my father’s house. But do not let the plague be on your people.”

18 Now the angel of the Lord had commanded Gad to say to David that David should go up and raise an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 19 So David went up at Gad’s word, which he had spoken in the name of the Lord. 20 Now Ornan was threshing wheat. He turned and saw the angel, and his four sons who were with him hid themselves. 21 As David came to Ornan, Ornan looked and saw David and went out from the threshing floor and paid homage to David with his face to the ground. 22 And David said to Ornan, “Give me the site of the threshing floor that I may build on it an altar to the Lord—give it to me at its full price—that the plague may be averted from the people.” 23 Then Ornan said to David, “Take it, and let my lord the king do what seems good to him. See, I give the oxen for burnt offerings and the threshing sledges for the wood and the wheat for a grain offering; I give it all.” 24 But King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will buy them for the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, nor offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” 25 So David paid Ornan 600 shekels of gold by weight for the site. 26 And David built there an altar to the Lord and presented burnt offerings and peace offerings and called on the Lord, and the Lord answered him with fire from heaven upon the altar of burnt offering. 27 Then the Lord commanded the angel, and he put his sword back into its sheath.

28 At that time, when David saw that the Lord had answered him at the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, he sacrificed there. 29 For the tabernacle of the Lord, which Moses had made in the wilderness, and the altar of burnt offering were at that time in the high place at Gibeon, 30 but David could not go before it to inquire of God, for he was afraid of the sword of the angel of the Lord.


The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.


 

Questions to Consider:

  1. Verse 1 says that Satan “incited” (other reliable translations say “moved,” “urged,” and “provoked”) David to sin by numbering Israel. Did David have a choice in the matter? Was he forced to sin? What are some ways you can resist Satan when he tempts you?

2. First Corinthians 10:13 says God will always provide us a way of escape from temptation. What was one way of escape God provided to David? (3)

3. What was David’s response to God’s wrath over his sin- did he attempt to justify himself or did he repent? (8) Even though God would be pouring out His wrath on Israel, which attribute of God did David focus on and depend on in making his choice? (13)

4. How did David’s sin as a leader affect those under his authority? (14) Why is it extremely important for Christians in leadership (in the home, at work, at church, etc.) to walk in obedience to the Lord? Can you think of an example of how your sin has affected those around you or under your authority? What should you have done differently in that situation?

5. What were David’s first (16) and second (26) responses to God staying His hand? Did God accept David’s worship and forgive him? Why did David insist on paying Ornan for the site and materials for the sacrifice? (23-25) Is it really a sacrifice if it doesn’t cost you anything?

Gospel, Old Testament, Salvation, Sin, Sunday School, Types and Shadows

Boldly Approaching the Throne: Shimei ~ Sunday School Lesson ~ 5-25-14

sunday school

These are my notes from my ladies’ Sunday School class this morning. I’ll be posting the notes from my class here each week. Click here for last week’s lesson.

Through the Bible in 2014 ~ Week 21 ~ May 18-24
1 Chronicles 21-22, 2 Samuel 19-24, Psalm 26, 40-42, 57-58, 61-62, 64, 5, 38, 95, 97-99, 30, 108-110
Boldly Approaching the Throne: Shimei

Background:
As we read last week in 2 Samuel 12, while David repented of his sin with Bathsheba and God forgave him and did not punish him with death, there were still many consequences that naturally followed as a result of his sin. God said to David in 12:11, “Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house.” We have seen that vividly fulfilled through the actions of two of his sons: Amnon, who raped his sister Tamar, and Absalom, who murdered Amnon and then attempted a coup. In chapters 13-19, we saw Absalom endear himself to the people and begin trying to take David’s throne by force. David gathered those who were loyal to him and fled Jerusalem. Finally, Joab, commander of the army, killed Absalom, and David returned to Jerusalem and was restored to the kingship. Today, we are taking a look at Shimei, the two very different ways he approached the throne (David), and the types and shadows in his story that show us Jesus and ourselves.

2 Samuel 16:5-13

The First Bold Approach: Curses!
Shimei was a member of Saul’s extended family. Even though Saul had repented to David a few times, he was ultimately David’s enemy. Saul had tried to murder David several times, and David had spent years on the run from him. Shemei took this family enmity upon himself and also considered David to be an enemy of Israel since David had taken Saul’s place as king, and because of the sins Shemei perceived David to have committed.

Notice that, while some of the things Shemei said were swearing-294391_640 (1)accurate [“you are a man of blood” (7-8- God Himself had said this. It was the reason He gave for David not building the temple. But God was referring to David being a warrior, not a murderer, as Shemei implied.), “the Lord has avenged you” (8- probably referring to the deaths of Abner, Ishbosheth, and Uriah- we know that what was happening was due to the Bathsheba incident), and “the Lord has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom” (8- they didn’t yet know that this was only true temporarily)], the way and context in which he said these things was twisted, and didn’t correctly represent everything that had happened.

It’s not a coincidence that Shimei was throwing rocks at David and his men (sometimes you’re in danger just because of who you’re hanging around with!), nor were the rocks primarily a weapon of convenience. David was guilty of adultery and murder. What was the penalty for these crimes? Death. How was it usually carried out? Stoning.

Shemei only spoke and acted only from his own viewpoint and opinions. Though he claimed to understand what God was doing with David, Shimei did not know God and never brought out what God had said in His word about David rightfully being king, or God’s forgiveness, or God’s rejection of Saul. In Shemei’s eyes, he was right and David was wrong. As a result, he rejected and rebelled against David. It was treason– a crime, ironically, worthy of the death penalty.

Son of David
Can you think of another King, established by God, who was rejected and cursed by His enemies–enemies who thought they knew what God was really up to? How about Jesus? Let’s take a look at some of the things in this story that foreshadow the life of Christ.

v.5- Who’s your daddy? (John 8:44)
Shimei was of the house of the enemy, Saul, who had tried numerous times to murder David. When the Pharisees were plotting to kill Jesus, He said to them, “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning,”

v. 5-8- Haters gonna hate (Isaiah 53:3, Matthew 27:38-44)
Shemei cursed David continually and leveled false and twisted accusations against David. Isaiah tells us, Jesus “was despised and rejected by men.” We see throughout the gospels that the Pharisees ignored what Scripture said about the Messiah and falsely accused Jesus of things like breaking the Sabbath, breaking Levitical laws (such as touching lepers and dead bodies), and blasphemy (claiming to be God). Finally, at the cross, we see them (much like Shimei did to David) hurling abuse at Jesus.

v. 6-
Stoned
Shemei attempted to execute David for a capital crime. The Pharisees, via the Roman government, executed Jesus for a capital crime (blasphemy). Interesting fact: if it had not been against Roman law for the Jews to execute criminals themselves, Jesus would have been executed by stoning. The important difference to remember here between David and Jesus is that David was guilty. Jesus was not.

fog-258224_640Left and Right (Luke 23:33, John 15:18-20)
Shimei was not just trying to execute David, but also the criminals (in his eyes – guilty by association) on his right and on his left. Jesus was executed between two criminals, “one on His right, and one on his left.

We can also look at David’s mighty men as Jesus’ disciples, and, by extension, us. As I mentioned earlier, sometimes you can be in danger just because of who you hang out with, and Jesus made this clear in John 15. He said that if the world hates us or persecutes us to remember that it is because of Him.

v.9-10- Off with his head (John 18:10)
Abishai wanted to take off the head of David’s enemy. Peter, less of a swordsman than Abishai, I’m sure, attempted to take off the head of one of Jesus’ enemies. Neither David nor Jesus allowed his enemy to be beheaded.

v. 10-11- God’s will (Isaiah 53:10, Matthew 26:39, Galatians 3:13)
David wasn’t sure whether or not God was cursing him through Shimei. Jesus knew “it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief.” When Jesus asked in the garden for God to “let this cup pass” from Him, God said no. “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree,” Galatians tells us. It was God’s will for Christ to be cursed for us.

v. 12- The reward (Philippians 2:8-10)
David hoped God (lit.) “will look upon my affliction” and repay him with good for this cursing. God did repay Jesus with good for being cursed on the tree of Calvary for our sake:

And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

v. 13- Forbearance (Isaiah 53:7)
David did not retaliate or even speak to Shimei, but bore his cursing patiently as he walked along the road. Jesus did the same with those who lashed out at Him as He walked the road to the cross:

“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.”

v.14- Crossing over Jordan (Luke 23:43)
The Jordan River was the last hurdle the Israelites had to conquer before entering the Promised Land. “Crossing over Jordan” is often used as a metaphor in songs (especially spirituals, e.g. “Wayfaring Stranger”) for dying. After David’s “near death experience” he wearily came to the Jordan and refreshed himself. King Jesus reached the “Jordan” weary from the cross, and “refreshed Himself” later that day in Paradise.

She-you, She-me, Shemei
If David represents Jesus in this story, who does Shimei represent? Us. Before we were saved, we were Shemei, born into the house of the enemy. We only saw things from our own sinful perspective. Even though we might have thought we had this God thing all figured out, we didn’t know Him and were unable to see or understand His ways. While we might not ever have literally said anything bad about the Lord as Shimei did with David, our sin rained curses down on Christ and made false accusations against Him. We lived our lives in rebellion against, and rejection of, the King. It was treason– a crime worthy of the eternal death penalty. But Jesus, in His kindness, mercy, and grace, bore it patiently and did not strike back at us.

2 Samuel 19:16-17a, 18b-23

The Second Bold Approach: Taking His Life in His Hands
The first time Shimei approached David, it was in arrogance and self-righteousness. This time, he humbles himself. The first time he approached David, Shimei didn’t see him as king. This time, Shimei knows David is the king. Shimei knows all about a king’s power, the power over life and death. Shimei isn’t throwing stones now; he’s throwing himself at David’s feet. He isn’t cursing; he’s repenting. Pleading, even. “Please don’t hold me guilty. Please don’t take what I did and said to heart.” He’s no longer accusing David of sin, he’s confessing and taking responsibility for his own sin without making excuses. All he can hope for is David’s mercy.

Abishai is right in wanting to put Shimei to death. He deserves it. The law demands it. Abishai knows it. David knows it. Shimei knows it. But even though Shimei– the one worthy of death—had tried to kill David (whom God had said would not die 12:13)—David extends mercy, grace, and pardon to him. David knows he’s king and knows the extent of his power, and he uses that power to forgive.

David and Shimei, Jesus and Me
As with Shimei, God awakens us to the fact that we have sinned against an all powerful King, the holy God of the universe. Now we know He’s the King. We know about God’s power—the power over life and death, and eternal life and death. Instead of approaching Him in arrogance and self-prayerrighteousness as Shimei did with David at first, we humble ourselves. We throw ourselves at Christ’s feet in repentance. “Please don’t hold me guilty. Please don’t take what I did and said to heart.” We confess our sin and take responsibility for it with no excuses. All we can hope for is Christ’s mercy. We deserve death. God’s law demands it. We know it, and God knows it. But even though we—the ones worthy of death—put Jesus on the cross with our sin, He extends mercy, grace, and pardon to us. Jesus knows He’s the King and knows the extent of His power, and He uses that power to forgive.

Forgiveness, Obedience, Old Testament, Sin, Sunday School

David’s Sin: You da Man! ~ Sunday School Lesson ~ 5-18-14

sunday school

These are my notes from my ladies’ Sunday School class this morning. I’ll be posting the notes from my class here each week. Click here for last week’s lesson.

Through the Bible in 2014 ~ Week 20 ~ May 11-17
1 Chronicles 19-20, 2 Samuel 10-18, Psalm 20, 65-67, 69-70, 32, 51, 86, 122, 3-4, 12-13, 28, 55
David’s Sin: You da Man!

 

www-St-Takla-org--david

How could David, a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14), sink to the level of committing adultery and murder? What was he thinking? How did he respond to being confronted by Nathan? What can we learn about how to deal with our own sin?

2 Samuel 11, 12:1-15, Psalm 51

2 Samuel 11- Setting the Stage for Sin

v. 1- “But David remained at Jerusalem.”
As we’ve read about David’s previous battles, where did we always find David when the fighting was going on? Back at the palace? No. He was out there with his men, leading things. This time, he was somewhere he wasn’t supposed to be. Can you think of a time when you were somewhere you knew you shouldn’t have been, which led to temptation?

v. 3- Eliam and Uriah: Mighty Men (2 Samuel 23:34, 39)
Both Eliam and Uriah were part of David’s mighty men. These weren’t just nameless, faceless Joe Blows in his army, but part of his inner circle who had been with him through thick and thin with fierce loyalty.

v. 4- The paternity test
Lest there be any question that maybe this was Uriah’s baby after all, verse 4 makes clear that the reason David saw Bathsheba bathing was that she was cleansing herself after “that time of the month.” David took her afterwards and Uriah was miles away at the battle, so only David could have been the father.

v. 8- Making Whoopee
(If you don’t know what that means, you’re not old enough to remember “The Newlywed Game” from the 1960s-70s. YouTube it.) “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” Since washing was done right before bed, this idiom meant for Uriah to go home and enjoy “knowing” his wife in the biblical sense.

thv. 9-13- A man of valor
Uriah, possibly inspired by David’s past honorable leadership, acted more valiantly and loyally here than his king did.

v. 4, 26- A willing participant?
Notice that this passage doesn’t tell us anything about what Bathsheba was thinking or feeling about all this. Remember, David was the king. You didn’t say no to the king if you wanted to live, especially if you were a woman. And furthermore, she knew he was “God’s anointed.” Surely such a man wouldn’t lead her to do anything wrong, would he? So, even if Bathsheba had been attracted to David, there was some level of coercion and advantage taking going on here on David’s part. Verse 26 makes a special point of telling us that she lamented over her husband. She loved him. David didn’t just sin with Bathsheba, he also sinned against her.

v. 27- Evil
I think in this case, the HCSB captures this verse better than the ESV (my preferred/usual translation): “The Lord considered what David had done to be evil.” That pretty much sums up what David had done, and it sums up our sin in God’s eyes as well. Evil.

 

2 Samuel 12:1-15- A Guilty Verdict

v. 1- Confronathan
Nathan wasn’t just a prophet; he was David’s friend and adviser. God sent him to confront David about his sin, and gave him the wisdom and the words to do it in exactly the right way.

v.1-4- The cast of characters
The rich man represented David. The poor man represented Uriah. The lamb represented Bathsheba. What do you think the traveler represented?

v. 4- Leaving out the welcome mat for temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13)
The traveler represented David’s temptation. Temptation is a lot like a visit from a traveling salesman. It comes and goes, it shows up unexpectedly, and it always tries to get you to spend more than you want to on something that seems fabulous but never lives up to the hype. When temptation rang David’s doorbell, he flung open the door and welcomed it in as an invited guest. As new creatures in Christ, we don’t have to do that. 1 Corinthians 10 says God will always provide a way for us to escape temptation.

One of those ways of escape is to not be home to answer the door. As I mentioned earlier, David wasn’t even supposed to be home when that temptation came around. He was supposed to be out on the battlefield with his troops. One way to avoid temptation is to be where you’re supposed to be and not be where you’re not supposed to be.

v. 4- Offering sacrifices to the idol of self
We also see in verse 4 that the rich man not only refused to send the traveler away and welcomed him in, but he also slaughtered a lamb to feed the traveler. The Israelites did slaughter lambs for food, but what else did they slaughter lambs for? Sacrifices.

David didn’t just welcome temptation in, he sacrificed for it. He was no longer sacrificing to honor God, but to gratify his own selfish desires. He sacrificed things that belonged to him—his integrity, his morals, his reputation, his example to his people, and his relationship with God. But he also sacrificed Bathsheba and Uriah who did NOT belong to him.

What are some ways we might sacrifice things, or others, for sin?

v. 5-6- The log in his eye (Matthew 7:3-5)
Isn’t it interesting how we can so clearly see the sin of others while simultaneously being blind to our own sin? “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Matt. 7:3)

“He had no pity.” David never considered how his actions would affect Uriah and Bathsheba. He only thought about himself. Temptation and sin blind us to what we’re doing to ourselves, others, and God.

v. 7ff- Faithful are the wounds of a friend (Proverbs 27:6, Galatians 6:1-2, John 15:13)
Nathan was acting in three roles here. He was David’s friend, his brother in the Lord, and the man of God, and he loved David in all three capacities by showing him his sin. In the same way, we are to love our friends, our sisters in Christ, E1221909136and those under our spiritual leadership or influence. We care enough about them to help them out of sin, even at the risk of the relationship (Gal. 6)

Nathan confronted David wisely. Remember, David was the king—he could do (and had done) whatever he wanted to do, and he had already killed one man. Nathan knew this going in. Nathan also acted lovingly, boldly, and firmly. His commitment to what God had told him to do was greater than the love of his own life (John 15) or the love of his relationship with David. How often do we look the other way to keep the peace or preserve a relationship with someone instead of obeying what God has told us to do?

v. 7-9- Against Thee, Thee only…
I, I, I, I… Notice how many times God refers to Himself in these three verses? He is making it clear—and David gets the message as we will see in Psalm 51:4—that it is primarily God against whom David has sinned. Though others may be casualties or collateral damage (as Uriah and Bathsheba were), when we sin, we set ourselves up as enemies of God and wage war against Him.

v. 8- Gimme, gimme (Hebrews 13:5)
If all God had blessed him with had not been enough, God would have given him more. The fact that God had not given him more shows us that God had given David exactly what He wanted him to have. But David was not content with all the blessings God had given him. He selfishly wanted things God didn’t want him to have.

v. 9-10- Hatred for God’s word = Hatred for God
“Despised” and “evil”- When we sin, no matter how “small” it is, we are showing hatred for God’s word. Hating God’s word is evil. Notice in v. 9, “you have despised the word of the Lord,” and in v. 10, “you have despised me.” To despise God’s word is to despise God Himself.

v. 11-12- Public discipline for private sin? (Numbers 32:23)
Why did God discipline David publicly when he had sinned privately?

First, David had not sinned completely privately. Many people knew at least part of what he had done: the servants he sent to take Bathsheba in the first place (4), the servants who were in the house at the time(s) of the affair, Joab, likely several of the soldiers serving directly under Joab and with Uriah, probably the messenger who brought word of Uriah’s death, Nathan, and of course, Bathsheba herself. And you can bet that a lot of those people didn’t keep what they knew to themselves. “Your sin will find you out,” (Num. 32) is certainly true, especially for sins of this magnitude.

With all those people knowing what David had done, how would it reflect on God if He disciplined David privately? It would look as though God had given him a pass, that certain, special people were above God’s law. That’s how things were for kings of pagan nations. Israel and Israel’s God were different, not like the other nations. Furthermore, it would have diminished God’s justice in the eyes of Israel if God disciplined David privately and Israel couldn’t see it. How could they trust His justice if it looked like His justice was inconsistent?

Second, David was famous, highly visible. Like it or not, he set an example for the people. When he did right, it was a good example. Here, he did wrong and it was a bad example. Through his actions and God’s visible discipline, the people learned what not to do in their own lives.

v. 13- Admission of guilt
David didn’t try to justify his sin or retaliate against Nathan. It is precisely because he was a man after God’s own heart that he simply and humbly confessed, “I have sinned.”

v. 13-14- God’s merciful forgiveness
Because David confessed his sin and repented of it, God mercifully forgave him. While David had said the “rich man” should die for his sin (5), and David was guilty of crimes deserving the death penalty, God removed that penalty from him. The consequences of his sin would remain (the death of the baby), but the punishment was taken away.

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Psalm 51- Repentance and Restoration

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
    and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
    and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
    and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
    and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    and sinners will return to you.
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
    O God of my salvation,
    and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
    you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
    build up the walls of Jerusalem;
then will you delight in right sacrifices,
    in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
    then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Obedience, Old Testament, Sovereignty of God, Sunday School

David and God’s Big Picture ~ Sunday School Lesson ~ 5-11-14

sunday school

These are my notes from my ladies’ Sunday School class this morning. I’ll be posting the notes from my class here each week. Click here for last week’s lesson.

Through the Bible in 2014 ~ Week 19 ~ May 4-10
1 Chronicles 13-18, 2 Samuel 5:11-9, Psalm 1-2, 15, 22-25, 47, 68, 89, 96, 100-101, 105, 132, 29, 33, 36, 39, 50, 53, 60, 75
David and God’s Big Picture

2 Samuel 7/1 Chronicles 17
This passage is the institution of the Davidic covenant: God’s promise to establish the throne of David forever through the eventual birth and reign of Jesus. God, in His sovereignty, had a plan that David was part of. A plan with farther reaching impact than just David’s life. But God’s call on David’s life was the same as His call on our lives: to love and serve Him faithfully wherever He has put us.

crown-and-thorns

2 Samuel 5:12
Right from the beginning of David’s reign, he recognized two very important things about his life that we should also recognize:

1. God is sovereign (1 Samuel 16:1-13, 1 Peter 2:9).
It was God who had made David king over Israel, not anything intrinsically worthy in David himself. Remember that when God chose David to be king back in 1 Samuel 16, David was just a shepherd in his late teens or early 20s. Nothing special. Just an average guy. In fact, God told Samuel not to pay attention to outward signs of “specialness” in David’s older brothers. He had his own reasons for choosing David.

In the same way, when God calls us out of darkness and into His marvelous light (1 Pet.) for salvation, it’s not because there’s anything intrinsically good in us. In fact, everything’s bad about us because we are drenched in sin. But for His own reasons, whatever they are, God has called us out to save us.

2. David’s life was not his own (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Matthew 20:28)
The second half of this verse does not say that “David knew… that the Lord had…exalted his kingdom” so David would be happy or comfortable or have a life of purpose. God established David’s kingdom “for the sake of His people Israel.” While God certainly blessed David along the way, God is about God. His main objective is His plans, His purposes, and His glory, not our happiness and contentment. This, of course, doesn’t mean He doesn’t care about us individually—far from it!

blurry-sky-cross1 Corinthians tells us our lives are not our own because we were bought with a price (the blood of Christ). We no longer belong to Satan, slaves of our sinful natures, living to gratify our own desires, pawns in his plan of trying to thwart God’s will. We belong to God to use as He sees fit for His plans and purposes.

One of the pitfalls of the American mindset is that it has taught us to focus on ourselves as individuals, often to the exclusion of what is good for our neighbors, our community, our state, nation, and world. We think in terms of “my rights,” “my enjoyment,” and “How will this affect me?” (Just so you know, I’m not a communist or a socialist when it comes to government. I’m just talking about this “me-centered” mentality.) This crosses over into our Christian lives. We often get so focused on our own lives, what we think God is or isn’t doing in them or with them, and how whatever He is doing is affecting us personally, that we forget that God has a huge plan for the entirety of human history and the universe. Whatever He’s up to right now may be about someone else, not you or me. We need to be more aware of God’s “big picture.”

As with David, God gives us our authority and circles of influence for the good of others, to bless them and serve them, even as Jesus came, not to be served but to serve, and to give His life for others (Matt. 20). The good news is that when we are on board with this, we get something much better than fleeting things like earthly happiness and comfort. We get eternal joy, peace, and a glimpse of the glory of God as we obey and cooperate with His plan.

You can’t always get what you want (2 Samuel 7:1- 7, 1 Samuel 13:14)
Because our lives are not our own, cooperating with God’s big picture plans sometimes means that we don’t get to do what we want to do, even if what we want to do is good and godly.

www-St-Takla-org--110--Solomon-Builds-the-Temple-3David was a “man after God’s own heart.” He loved the Lord and wanted to thank and honor Him by building Him a temple. What he wanted to do was an honorable and worshipful thing, and the motives of his heart were pure. But that was not the role God wanted David to play in the unfolding of His plan, nor was it the right time. The person God wanted to fulfill that part of His plan, at a later time, was Solomon.

As we discussed last week, seeking godly counsel is an important part of making godly decisions. David did this by consulting Nathan, the prophet. However, praying and asking for God’s guidance and wisdom is also essential before taking on something like building a temple, and both David and Nathan neglected to do so.

Graciously, even though they hadn’t come to God, God came to Nathan and explained things. God pointed out that in all this time, He had never asked anyone to build Him a permanent house. God had been just fine in a tent up to this point, and would be just fine until He decided it was time for Solomon to build the temple.

Sometimes, even if something is godly and part of God’s plan, He wants someone else to do it.

But you can always get what you need (2 Samuel 7:8-17, Luke 2: 26-33)
What David needed and what we need, is to be faithful and obedient to God wherever He has placed us. This doesn’t mean God will necessarily have us in the same place all our lives (though He might). After all, He took David from shepherd to warrior to king. But David served God faithfully in each of those positions for as long as God had him in those positions.

Ultimately, the role God wanted David to play in His plan was to be the king through whom God initiated the Davidic Covenant. Though David sought to build God a house, it was God who would build David a house (11, Luke 2). It would be an eternal house, first through his descendants who would be temporal kings, and, finally, through the Messiah, Jesus, who would reign forever and whose kingdom would know no end.

David’s Response (2 Samuel 7:18-29)

Humility (18-20)
David was overwhelmed by the fact that, though he wanted to do something big for God, God was going to do something big through him.

Exaltation (21-24)
David again recognized that it was God’s sovereignty that brought all this about, not his own awesomeness (21). He praised God’s greatness, holiness, and superiority to all else (22). He recounted God’s mighty deeds of the past and how He glorified Himself through His chosen people, Israel (23-24)

I’m in! (25-29)
David didn’t express doubt or hesitate to jump in with both feet. He didn’t whine that what he really wanted to do was build the temple. He embraced God’s plan obediently and joined in thankfully and wholeheartedly.

David glorified God for His “macro” plan (25-26) – the coming of the Messiah and everything leading up to it – and also for His “micro” plan (27-29) – realizing that if he cooperated with God’s plan, he and his family would be blessed along the way. Notice that David (29) did ask for God to bless his house and descendants, but not for personal/family gain. He asked that God would bless his family to fulfill and cooperate with God’s plan.

When God places us in any situation, whether blessing or hardship, our response should mirror David’s. We should be obedient to God, never stepping outside of His word to pursue things He doesn’t want for us, even if they seem godly. And, with humility and praise, we should embrace God’s plan, cooperating with Him joyfully.

What about all the non-Davids? (Exodus 12:37, Mark 7:37, 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12)
Sometimes when we read the Bible, we come to stories like David, Moses, Joshua, Noah, and Paul, and we can get the impression that God calls everyone to do great big things for Him as part of his plan. We tend to forget that when the Israelites left Egypt, there were likely 1.5 to 2 million of them. And only one Moses. By David’s time, there were likely several million Israelites. And only one David. What about the millions of Israelites who were born, grew up, got married, went to blue collar jobs every day, and died, having the-israelites-withoutlived lives of quiet faithfulness to God but never having had God make a covenant with them or being called to kill a giant or part a sea? Did God love them less? Value their love for Him less?

Why does God use some people in big, visible, fame-creating ways, and some in invisible ways? The answer, as is often the case when we’re dealing with God is, “I don’t know.” That’s one of the things that makes Him God and us not God. It’s his business, not ours. We trust that He does all things well (Mark 7) and that when He says that we are to “live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands” (1 Thess. 4), He means it, and that lives of quiet faithfulness are precious in His eyes.

 

God has a plan. All of us who are His children have a part to play in that plan. Our part, whether big and visible or quiet and invisible, is to love and trust Him more each day and live obediently and faithfully wherever He places us.